When I was young, every so often my mom played Bridge with her other mom friends during the day. I don’t remember much about those days other than there were tables set up with cards and snacks on them. Was there alcohol? I can’t remember, which is a comforting thought these days. Bridge days were days when my mom and her friends got together. Yes, they played cards, but they also talked and laughed. It was a way for them to break out of the social isolation of their world as a stay-at-home mom and connect.
Today, that need to connect is still very real. There are playdates and playgroups and meet-ups at Starbucks. And, for the mommy bloggers out there, there is a thriving online community that is both a blessing and a curse.
Let’s start with the curse part, shall we?
It’s addictive. How many times have you walked by the computer during the day and thought, “I’ll just check x, y, and z really quickly…” Can you even walk by the computer without thinking it? I’m not talking about being able to resist the temptation to sit down and log on; I’m talking about being able to resist the temptation to wonder what is going on in the online world…all the time…
It’s a massive time-suck. Holy cow, Twitter (and Facebook for that matter) is hypnotizing. You can just watch as everyone updates their status. I find it enthralling to read what everyone posts. And on Twitter, the posts keep coming, and coming, and coming. And that’s when you look up and realize that two hours have passed and you have accomplished nothing.
It raises your awareness of online creepiness. If you have your own blog, have you ever looked at the search terms people are using to find you? Yikes! Our site is Mamas Against Drama, and people have gotten to our site by typing in everything from “ass moms” to “naughty mommy.” Um… to each his own… I guess?
There is a learning curve. There are unwritten rules and an online language that I have yet to master. I had a conversation with someone the other day. It went a little something like this: “You can hit ‘retweet’ or you can hit ‘reply’ and then copy and paste the original message in and type in their ‘name’ and a little intro message if there is space.. Oh yes, and don’t forget to type RT if you are doing it that way so they know you are retweeting, since you didn’t hit retweet.”
There is also an element of quid pro quo expectations. I once got reprimanded by direct message on Twitter for not liking someone’s Facebook Fan Page back after they liked ours. So lesson learned: I can offend people online just as easily as I can offline.
And now for the blessings.
Advice from the experts. Loads of them. I consider anyone who is raising a child an expert in parenting -- or at the very least, someone who can offer advice on doing things differently. If you are looking for parenting advice, Twitter and Facebook are great resources. Loads of people are willing to offer their two cents, which can be amazingly diverse and helpful.
It’s cheaper than therapy. If you are having a bad day, there is always someone there to offer encouragement. For free. How great is that?!?
It’s a great way to meet friends. As a parent of three small children, opportunities to see my friends are fewer and farther between than they used to be. Most of the time, I talk to my friends on the phone or we trade emails on when we can get together. So it doesn’t seem all that strange to me that I am making new friends online through the whole blogging experience. Mommy blogging is -- let’s face it -- like a Match.com for mommies. Only without the prospect of sex... unless there are mommy bloggers on the prowl for that… which would be a whole other (and probably more well-read) blog.
It’s a true Mother’s Little Helper. I know so many women who have said that blogging has saved them in some way -- whether making them feel like they weren’t the only one in a particular situation or decreasing their sense of isolation in some other way. Whatever the case, it is a lifeline that women are turning to in order to improve their sense of self, keep their thinking skills sharp, and increase their connection to the outside world.
In short, mommy blogging seems like the natural evolution of parenthood and technology. And hey, if our moms had their Bridge day, surely we can have our Twitter parties.
Shannon Hembree is a stay-at-home mom for a kindergartner and twin toddlers. She blogs to stay sane (and to avoid eating entire pans of brownies in one sitting) and is the co-founder of www.mamasagainstdrama.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @shannon1hembree.
Photo Credit: Alan Blackburn.
More from living